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Some British expats have been left furious as postal vote delays meant they were unable to cast their vote in the 2024 General Election.

GB News has heard from expats living across Europe who had not received their postal vote in time.

Richard Hill, President of Brexpats in Spain International, said he had heard from many people who had still not received their postal vote, just days before the polls opened.

He said: “Given the time it takes to return the forms to the UK from Spain, they have basically been denied their right to vote in the UK.

“This was obviously going to happen given the short notice for the election and the lack of preparation by local authorities.”

Another expat said on Tuesday: “My wife and I are British pensioners living in Greece.

“We applied for a postal vote in the first week of June. We still have not received it.

“I suppose we will be denied our democratic right to vote.”

Another told GB News: “I live in Germany and was told I should vote per proxy as my postal vote might not reach the Ballot box on time. I don't understand why they couldn't send the postal vote out earlier.

"Until the beginning of this year, people living outside of the UK were not allowed to vote because of the 15-year rule which was brought in many many years ago.

“Since the rule has been scrapped, there are many millions who live outside of the UK who are now eligible to vote and have to vote by post, and yet their votes may not be counted in the election as the postal votes were sent out late.

“These many millions living outside the UK who could now be voting in the election may not be counted - I think this is worth a mention especially if there needs to be a recount.”

Another person, who lives in France, said they applied for a postal vote three weeks ago.

It arrived weeks later on Saturday, June 29, and while they returned it by airmail on Monday, July 1, they feared it was “unlikely” to arrive on time in order to be counted.

Some UK residents have also not received their postal votes.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said on Monday: “We’re working closely with the Electoral Commission, returning officers, Royal Mail and the print suppliers to support the resolution of these issues."

A Local Government Association spokesperson said: “Councils and electoral staff across the country have been doing their utmost to ensure the smooth running of this election and that people can vote.

“People voting by post are expected to have increased 20 per cent since 2019, with more than 1.3 million postal vote applications made between 22 May and 19 June. This unprecedented increase adds more pressure to an already complex process and overburdened system.

“We are aware of reports of incidents where delays have happened. The postal vote system could benefit from review and more could be done to support Royal Mail and printers to be ready to deliver elections.”

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said: “At all elections, the timetable allows only a short window of time for administrators to prepare and dispatch postal votes. That means it can be particularly difficult for overseas voters to receive and return their postal vote in time.

“We have made recommendations to the UK Government in the past about how to improve the experience for overseas voters. We will be gathering evidence after this poll, and will put forward further suggestions as appropriate.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "We have a specialist elections team that plans every aspect of the elections delivery programmes and works closely with local authorities to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible.

“We have delivered more postal votes and candidate mail than ever before and we are proud of the role we play in the democratic process. There is no backlog in our network. We remain confident that postal votes handed to us on time have been delivered in time for polling day.”

The rules on eligibility to register as an overseas voter changed in January this year, meaning British citizens living abroad can now register to vote in UK General Elections, regardless of how long they have been living outside of the UK.

Previously, someone could only register for 15 years after they left the UK, known as the 15-year time limit.

The rule change means people who have previously lived in or been registered to vote in the UK now have the right to vote in UK parliament elections.

Overseas voters must register online at gov.uk/registertovote and must confirm their personal information every three years.

They can apply for a postal vote or a proxy vote if they're registered as an overseas voter. It may be possible to apply for an emergency proxy vote after the proxy vote deadline has passed.

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